You've just won an Olympic gold medal, the culmination of a lifetime of training and sacrifice. You're standing on the podium, the flag is rising and the national anthem is blaring. How are you going to react? Are you going to stand stoically? Or are you going to turn into a blubbering mess of mucus and tears?
To find out what happens most often, the Journal reviewed the tape of 129 gold-medal winners from the London Games。 About 16% of them cried at some point during the ceremony。 Another 16% either bit or kissed their medal on the podium, while 44% sang along with their anthem—sometimes through a stream of tears。
Women cry more than men—25% compared to 8%—but many of the men who did cry seriously lost it. South Africa's Chad le Clos needed tissues after he beat Michael Phelps in the 200-meter butterfly, while the Dominican Republic's Felix Sanchez was a complete wreck after winning the 400-meter hurdles.
Among the three countries with the most gold medals thus far, China cries the least, with only 7% of its athletes succumbing to tears. More than 17% of American winners cried, while a whopping 37.5% of athletes from host country Great Britain cried. And since they weren't crying, the Chinese also sang the most: 92% of their athletes belted out the anthem, compared to 61% from Great Britain and 44% from the U.S.